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Hen lost her voice... Quick help please

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MichelleT, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello all. We have 5 red sex links that we adopted in September as a group (from a local farm). They have done well so far but about a week ago my kids told me that Queen Peach had a funny cluck. I didn't hear her but today the kids said her voice is gone. She's not having trouble breathing (according to them (they are 10 and 12 years old but are very observant)) and shows no signs of any discharge. I have been leaving for work before dawn and getting home after dark for the past three days so I haven't checked her out myself yet. I will do so first thing in the morning before I leave for work.

    I have read several threads and articles but I am feeling very overwhelmed. It would be very helpful if someone could just give me a list of what to look for in the morning and how to respond. She does not seem to show any other obvious symptoms: her appetite and demeanor are normal.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give. I just want to do the right thing![​IMG]
     
  2. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First, take a big breath. Let it out. It's okay.

    I would grab her off the roost tonight and bring her inside. Often, chickens will hide symtpoms of illness, and moving them at night is less stressful.

    Dog crate in the garage or bathroom. Someplace dim, quiet, and warm. Before you put her in, feel her abdomen. Any lumps? Does it feel spongey or hard? Is her crop full? Check her eyes. Open her mouth and shine a light down her throat.

    Put some food and water in with her and wish her a good night.

    In the morning, spying is always good. Observe her behavior as best you can. Is she straining? Opening her mouth over and over? Oozing anything?

    A "funny cluck" could be the egg song, or it could be a respiratory disease.

    Any other info you can provide will help!

    MrsB
     
  3. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay. I didn't get your response 'til this morning so I didn't bring her in last night. This morning I checked our Queen Peach over for the following:
    1.) eyes/nostrils discharge - none
    2.) eyes bright? yes
    3.) full crop? no
    4.) look down throat? um... how? I tried to pull on her waddle, but she only opened to about the diameter of a pea. Not enough to see anything at all. So who knows?
    5.) comb color - a little lighter than the others, but not significantly so. Dark pink...
    6.) behavior - same as always... scratching in the run first thing out of the coop, drank water after inspection and headed for the feeder, resisted holding (that's normal for her) but nothing out of the ordinary
    7.) voice... she gave one full-hearted squawk when my daughter first held her, but then went back to her whisper squawks after that.
    8.) other - she did have a piece of straw hanging out of her mouth when we first grabbed her. It was moist and about 2 inches long. It didn't appear to be in her throat - just her mouth.

    Recent events that might shed light on the situation... ???
    a.) We cleaned the coop last weekend (see part b. for why) and uncovered a vent (it had a hooded cover) to help air it out. I just realized this morning that the vent hood was not replaced. It was really warm (50s at night) the first few days this week, but dropped down into the 30s the last 2 days. Her roosting spot is the closest to this vent. Could she have gotten a chill???
    b.) I've been employing the deep litter method all winter and, although it has worked like a charm for keeping the coop warm, Friday night my daughter noticed a mouse in the coop when she went to say goodnight to the girls. So... we cleaned everything out and scrubbed it down the next day. In doing so, we (and I mean the girls mostly) discovered a mouse nest complete with babies - which they enjoyed heartily. Could there be something in that? I put the bedding that I removed from the coop into a big pile which the girls have been scratching through all week when they're out of the run. In hindsight, this is probably not good (given mice=disease.. I know!). There was just so much of it (it was, indeed, DEEP :) that I didn't know what to do with it yet...

    I can look for more, if I know what I'm looking for...
    I'll be home before dusk tonight and will let them out and observe. We'll replace the vent cover tonight as well.
    Thanks for your reply already.
     
  4. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also - her feathers look great. She just finished a molt and is beautifully endowed.[​IMG]
     
  5. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You pull her wattles and open her beak. You can prop it open with a pinky finger and shine a light in her mouth. I just want to check to make sure she doesn't have gape worm or something like that. Gape worm, although rare, CAN occur in backyard flocks. It's treatable with wormer.

    The fact that rodents were involved does mean the increased possibility of a disease. That is one place chickens can get all kinds of nasties from.

    I would isolate this hen as soon as you possibly can, if you haven't done so yet. Respiratory infections are HIGHLY contagious, so hedge against spreading it as best you can. Keep an eye on the other chickens for any signs of distress as well. You may have to watch for a while... Chickens will hide their symptoms as a survival mechanism, which ultimately works against them. :/

    Keep us posted.

    MrsB
     
  6. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    alrighty. I'll be look in' down her throat when I get home.

    I have to say that I'm hoping it's these worms. Seems much easier to deal with. I don't even know where to remove her TO. THAT's going to take some doing...
     
  7. MrsBrooke

    MrsBrooke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, like I said, gapeworm isn't the most common chicken thing, but they can get it from eating insects and such. If she's got it, she will constantly be stretching her neck and opening her mouth like she's yawning. That's usually the tell-tale sign.

    A spare bathroom works in a pinch. :)

    MrsB
     
  8. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After quite a few tries, two children and adult were able to hold her get her mouth open and look down her throat. I wish I had a video!
    No worms; in fact it was quite a healthy looking throat. She is still whisper squawking, but otherwise she's great. She is named Queen Peach for a reason and that name still holds. She's the top of the pecking order.

    So, now I've removed her to a window-ed shed with a dirt floor. Good ventilation and space. I don't feel safe leaving her there for the night though, as it's not predator proof. We will bring her in and put her in a large (moving) box and put her in our unfinished basement. What exactly am I looking for? And how will I know how to proceed?

    Also, I feel horrible keeping her in all day tomorrow when she could be out roaming around. I know we don't want her with the other girls, but what to do? She's not really sick so she wants to be busy.

    :pSorry for all the questions! I feel like we've done really well so far, well, until the mouse incident… I'm just clueless on this one.:p
     
  9. Ciqala

    Ciqala Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had this happen with two hens. The first one, was about 6-8 months ago... she appeared okay aside from losing her voice/sounding hoarse. I brought her inside in a crate, started her on Tylan but she died a couple of days later. The second time was just within this past month... hen acted fine, eating/drinking, active, just lost her voice and sounded hoarse. I took her in, put her in the crate and started her on Tylan, only soft foods and yogurts. When I got home from work, I'd let her out of the crate to explore the house, stretch her legs, etc. She came through it fine and is now back out with her flock.
     
  10. MichelleT

    MichelleT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Where do I get this Tylan and what is it?
     

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